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Edmonton man accused of sexually assaulting women experiencing homelessness: police

Police have charged a 60-year-old Edmonton man in relation to two sexual assaults against women experiencing homelessness. Investigators believe there could be more victims.

The investigation started in January, when police were told that a man was “approaching women in and around emergency shelters, bringing them back to and confining them in his residence and sexually assaulting them,” the Edmonton Police Service said in a news release Thursday.

Police said they uncovered two incidents: one from July 2015 and another from December 2022.

A suspect was identified and police warned several local emergency shelters about him.

Donald Burnett, 60, was arrested on May 10 and charged with two counts each of sexual assault and forcible confinement.

He was released with conditions on July 19, police said, including that he cannot go near Hope Mission, Bissell Centre and the Christian Care Centre, or have any female person in his home or vehicle. Another condition was that he abide by a 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

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In a news release Thursday, EPS said investigators believe the accused could be specifically targeting vulnerable women and women experiencing homelessness.

Police said he may also go by the name Don or Donald Davidson and is known to drive a silver 2008 Dodge Caravan.

“We’ve heard from community members that … (the suspect) often tells women not to come forward to police,” said Staff Sgt. Harry Grewal with the EPS Sexual Assault Section.

“We want to assure survivors that we are committed to investigating these assaults – we want to hear from you and provide support in any way we can.”

Since the accused’s arrest, police officers have gone to local shelters and the surrounding communities to encourage women to come forward

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“Given his (Burnett) recent release and ongoing concerns for safety, investigators are now also issuing a media release to warn the community,” EPS said.

Police said they are not releasing a photo of Burnett “at this time.”

Any potential victims are asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

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